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Board authorizes planning study for Veterans Parkway corridor

The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously approved a contract authorizing professional services to conduct a planning study for the Veterans Parkway corridor.

Board members took the action during their July 2 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Brett Morgan and seconded by Alderman Don Lowry.

City Engineer Darek Baskin recalled that the city decided in May to enter into a joint venture with the Millington Industrial Development Board to procure the planning study. The proposal was submitted to the IDB, which voted to participate at a 50-percent cost share.

Baskin said the projected budget for the study was about $50,000 for the IDB and $50,000 for the city, for a total of approximately $100,000.

He noted that a Selection Committee appointed by Interim Mayor Linda Carter was comprised of himself as committee chairman and selection officer; Diane Baker, a member of the Millington Municipal Planning Commission; Charles Gulotta, executive director of the IDB and Millington Area Chamber of Commerce; IDB Chairman Carey Parham; Alderman Keith Barger, who is a planning commission member; and Title VI Coordinator Lorrie Leach.

Baskin said the committee met initially on May 29 to review letters of interest received from five firms after the city had advertised for them. The list was “narrowed down” to three firms that were asked to make presentations, and the committee met with them on June 11.

“ETI’s team was selected, based on its proposal and qualifications,” Baskin told the aldermen. “ETI was asked to send the city a contract for its services, and that’s what you have before you tonight.”

He said the total amount for the contract is $89,750. ETI will provide a conceptual Master Plan for the Veterans Parkway industrial and commercial corridor from Highway 51 to Raleigh-Millington Road, an Access Management Plan for curb cuts along the route, design guidelines for industries along the corridor, and any additional services that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approves.

In response to a question by Alderman Mike Caruthers, Millington Finance Director John Trusty said the city’s budget has funding for $50,000, and the IDB has agreed to provide another $50,000.

“We would need to amend our budget to recognize the IDB’s $50,000 contribution,” Trusty noted. “If we treat it as a grant, and the board accepts it as a grant from the IDB, we can do it without an ordinance to amend the budget.”

Expressing concern about the “additional services” provision, Caruthers called the contract “sort of open-ended.” He said it should include a clause listing a “not to exceed” amount, so the board cannot go over its budget.

During the contract negotiations, Baskin said, he submitted copies of the proposal to Trusty, City Clerk Carolyn Conley, City Attorney Barbara Lapides, Gulotta and the mayor to make several revisions.

“One of the concerns that John brought up was the fact that the direct project expenses seemed to be a bit open-ended,” he said. “So, I contacted the consultants to try to get that nailed down.”

Baskin said he received an e-mail from ETI stating that the project expenses will not exceed 2 percent of the total contract amount, and those expenses will be itemized. He noted that 2 percent amounts to approximately $1,790.

Regarding the “additional services” provision, Lapides said ETI could do everything it has agreed to do under the contract, but the city could ask it to do something else. At that point, she said, the board would amend the contract and the budget.

Baskin said he also has a statement from ETI. It declares that the fees presented in the July 2 agreement include payments for all the team members and some consultants, and that there will be no additional cost for the project unless there is a “change order to the scope of services” approved in writing by the city.

In response to questions by Morgan and Caruthers, the city engineer said he will meet with ETI’s team to develop a schedule for the project and an “outline of events,” which will include some public meetings. When the study is completed, he said, the board must pass ordinances to modify the city’s existing industrial zoning ordinance.

“We also have some design guidelines that will be referred to in the ordinance,” he noted. “The time frame that we expect is about six to eight months.”

Immediately after she was appointed interim mayor, Carter said, Baskin told her that the city must do something about access routes and traffic signals along the Veterans Parkway corridor. Because it will have a number of curb cuts and a large amount of traffic, she said there will be an increased potential for traffic crashes.

“This will address that,” she concluded, “along with the design of buildings and landscaping.”

 

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